Amazon Sellers: How to Prepare for Q4 SuccessCaitlin Donnelly
Mention fourth quarter to any Amazon seller and it has the potential to bring about feelings of anxiety and apprehension. In reality, you should be incredibly excited about the potential for amazing profits because Q4 is one of the most exhilarating times of the year. If you follow this simple guide, we will help you plan for success with your Amazon sales through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond.
Make a Plan
Before you do anything, check out Amazon’s holiday best practices for the most up-to-date advice and guidelines for Amazon sellers. Then, start making a plan. Get advice from other sellers, assess and order inventory, analyze your product pricing, and optimize your listing.
Get Advice from Other Merchants
They’ve been there, done that. Most other Amazon sellers have a wealth of information that they are ready to share with new sellers. They remember how stressful their first Q4 was and many are open to helping first-time sellers avoid their mistakes. Check out Seller Central, the Amazon FBA subreddit, or one of the many FBA-focused Facebook groups for those willing to spill their 4th quarter secrets to success.
Evaluate Inventory More Often During the Holidays
Your inventory should be the first actionable item on your to-do list.
Plan our your inventory buying & budget early – Ideally you should be doing this all year long to ensure you have a big enough budget for Q4, but for the new sellers it is especially important right now.
For FBAforward to guarantee that your products will be in Amazon’s warehouses by Black Friday and Amazon Monday, you will need to follow these shipping deadlines:
- Sea Freight: September 30, 2016
- Air Freight: October 28, 2016
If you have enough capital, plan to order enough inventory to last you through the new year. Directly after the holidays, other merchants will be almost or completely out-of-stock and will be wasting precious sales opportunities. The amount of cash customers have from returns and Amazon gift card increases in January, so you want to be prepared for the sales ahead.
Pricing and Assessing Your Competition
The pricing on your products may stay relatively steady among your competitors all year, but the 4th quarter is a different story. Depending on what category you sell in, pricing can change quite often. Make sure to consistently check your competition and remain on top of repricing.
The holiday season is also a great time to quickly move the inventory you have that isn’t selling as well to reduce storage costs and turn your inventory over to make room for the more popular items. Around 10-15 days out from Christmas, consider decreasing the price on some of your slower selling inventory so you aren’t left with duds when the demand for most products declines post-Christmas.
Enhance Your Product Listing
Make your products stand out against your competition. This means optimizing your product page with high quality images, product descriptions, and relevant keywords. Consumers want to know what they are buying and you want to set clear expectations of what they will get when their products arrive. An optimized product page can increase your sales conversion rates immensely and decrease the likelihood of returns.
Also, consider updating your product page with things like holiday-specific images and keywords. Convey the value that your product has as a holiday-worthy product or gift so customers don’t even have to thinnk twice before ordering your product.
Plan for Post-Holiday Sales and Returns
Just because the holidays end, it doesn’t mean the hard work does. Prepare for returns! Amazon extends its policy on returns for customers who purchase during November and December to allow returns through January 31, 2017. All FBA merchants must abide by this return policy, so provide customers with a quick and positive experience.
In addition, Chinese New Year is right around the corner. Starting January 28, 2017, the majority of China will shut down for the holidays. This will mean no contact with your suppliers, shippers, and more… not even we can help you there! Even after the holiday, some factories experience high turnover when factory workers decide to never return to work. Plan ahead by making sure any urgent business gets completed before Chinese New Year.
Enjoy the Holidays!
The holidays aren’t all about sales. Don’t forget to breathe and take in the holiday season. It can be incredibly busy and rewarding, yet you should also make sure to spend time with loved ones. After all, that’s what the holidays are all about!
Amazon brought in $29.13 billion in revenue during Q4 of 2015 and they had a record-breaking holiday season for Prime orders. Amazon doesn’t have any plans to slow down during the 2016 holiday season and is predicted to break the previous year’s records yet again. If there were any year to grab a piece of the pie, this is it!